knitxcore.: January 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

vinyl monday: cat stevens.

Vinyl Monday

vinyl monday: cat stevens.

We're cutting back on hours in the shop I work at and that's means that today, I've spent a pretty long stretch of time alone. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it sort of gives me time to arrange my thoughts and reflect a little.

A lot of super great things have been happening to me lately (mostly one very BIG thing, which I'll be able to share soon), and I'm really thankful for the place that I am in. The sink maybe full of dishes, I may have to ride Public transit twice a week, but I'm still happy.

When I get into this mood where I start bubbling over with positivity, I always look to Cat Stevens to keep that ball rolling.

He hasn't let me down yet. He makes my ordinary life seem so surreal.

What GOOD things are happening for you?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

WIP: secret swap gifts.

hearts vintage

Let's talk about how I got finished work at about 6:30, cooked dinner and planted myself until front of the TV until just now. However, I did knit and hand felt ten little hearts for a project that I'm making for my Valentine's day swap partner. I hope she loves it, because my hands are all pruny and I'm about to pass out. I still have a lot of work to do before I can mail her gift out, so it looks like another crafting marathon tomorrow. Seriously, I'm not kidding anyone; I live for this stuff!

What are you up to tonight?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

intro to ceramics: day one.


On Tuesday, I had my first Introduction to Ceramics class. I was excited, but now I have sort of mixed feelings.

Let me start at the beginning:

We had to go to the campus bookstore to buy the enormous block of specially mixed clay (it takes longer to dry). It only weighed about 25 pounds, but it was enough to make me struggle. I walked over to the store with this giant military guy who took the class because he thought it would be easy, which is fine; no big deal. Embarrassed, I tried so hard to be a tough guy and lift the clay sort of nonchalantly. I couldn't. I ended pushing the big block of clay across the floor with my foot, like a really heavy soccer ball. Giant military guy did the same thing, he probably felt bad for me.

I struggled with the block as I bought a bottle of soy milk and an apple in the cafeteria. after putting my lil' snack into my backpack I carefully carried my block of clay with both hands back to class. Exhausted, I dropped it onto the table as soon as I walked in the door to the ceramics room. I was already defeated.

Our first project was to make a very simple pinch pot. For those of you not familiar, a pinch pot is made by rolling clay into a ball and pinching it into the shape of a vessel using your thumb and forefinger. Seems pretty simple, right?


I tried FIVE times, before I had a pot that I hadn't stuck my thumbnail through and it still looked pretty sad. (It's actually the picture on the right if you want to see). I look across the room and GMG (Giant Military Guy) has the best looking pinch pot in the room. Seriously, this thing looked like it was store bought. Now, when we first started class, I assumed this guy was going to be awful; he'd probably drop the class because it's lame or something. He's not an "art guy".


I studied his technique, and the sixth pot I made was actually acceptable.

I actually learned two lessons this week; people aren't as one-dimensional as I think they are and it's really effing hard to make a clay pot.

Friday, January 27, 2012

five things i'm freaking out about friday.


I really tried hard not to fall into that "Friday Favorites" trap. It seems like everyone is just sharing the same handful of links in our little corner of blogland. Sometimes, these "favorite" links things seem just like those creepy "advert-torials" in magazines; kinda awkward and shameless.

Recently, I've been getting emails about "endorsing" products and I think it's so strange. I mean, I understand that this is how new media works and that it can be very lucrative but it just comes across as slimy to promote something just because someone is giving you money or free product; dishonest.

Anyway, I'm going to use my "friday favorites" to share things from REAL people that I genuinely love, and think that you should see.

Sound good?


I've just come across Cassie Marie's paintings this week and I love every single one of them! Seriously, Cassie if you're reading this I have about 800 questions for you. I guess I should probably just email you, huh?
Anyway, her series of still life paintings featuring a handful of vintage figurines is some of the most exciting work I've seen this week. I hope she has something in my price range :-)

This banner from Secret Holiday & Co. is so simple and poignant, without trying to be profound. It's very similar to a print we have right above our coat rack that reads "Everything is going to be just fine". I have a tendency to panic or worry about every single thing, and these simple mantras are just so reassuring. As soon as my check is deposited, I'm ordering this banner to hang right above our bed.

octopus scarf!

This Octopus scarf by Flickr user MandalinaRossa is incredible! I've been following her of Flickr for years and I just want to say that everything single thing this girl has ever made is absolutely perfect! Everything! She has an incredible sense of color and such a energetic spirit that is really reflected in her work. I just recently found her Tumblr and I'm so excited to follow her.

Garden of Peculiarities handspun

I was so upset to find out that this art yarn from FolktaleFibers had sold out before I had seen it. It's so fun! Hopefully, Abby is able to spin some more because I'm not sure I can live without it.

I don't know how I ever lived before I found Kyary Pamyu Pamyu! Seriously, since I cut out caffeine I need to find new ways to energize my life and she is pretty much the most adorable cup of coffee ever. Watch the whole thing! You won't be sorry.

What's inspiring you this week?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Get Healthy!: 28-day Challenge Wrap-Up.

magic turnips!

As you may have deduced from my last "Get Healthy" post, we have pretty much given up on the strict guidelines imposed during the 28-Day Challenge. That is not to say that we have completely given up on healthy eating, but that our eating habits were exactly congruent with the standards.

In the last two weeks of the challenge, we did still eat the recipes; one of my favorites being the tofu scramble. I made it twice and ate almost all of it myself. The biggest problem we had with the challenge was the amount of ingredients that each recipe required and how much prep and cooking time was needed for each meal was just far too much. Of course, you could say that it would be worth the extra time to know that what we were eating was beneficial to our health and blah blah blah...

Unfortunately, it just didn't seem realistic to be peeling and chopping from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. Emotionally, it wasn't worth the stress of the "dish wars" that making a billion things from scratch would eventually fuel. Ha!

Instead of looking at this experience as a complete failure, I'm actually walking away with a feeling of accomplishment. The zeal and dedication that we showed in the first two weeks made it abundantly clear that we are taking our health seriously and that we are united in the quest for a better "us". The challenge has brought us back to the regular flexi-tarian diet that we had agreed upon over a year ago. We eat mostly vegetarian meals, punctuated by small portion of meat once or twice a week.

scrambled tofu with collards and turmeric.

I've actually been reading up on Ayurvedic Lifestyles recently, and have found that some of the foods that we had been avoiding during the cleanse (and some of the foods we were eating) may have caused certain imbalances within each of our very different doshas.

But, more on that next week...

I'm happy that we took the opportunity to participate in the challenge and some of the recipes will definitely be integrated into our weekly meal plans! Whole Living definitely had the right idea, but it just wasn't the right idea for us right now. We'll definitely give "detox" diets another go in the future, but right now I could really go for a latte and donut!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

FINISHED!: a terrycloth lion.

my submission for softies for mirabel.

I'm so excited to finally share this with you! I've been working on her since November, and she's finally completely finished.

Don't you just love her?!!!!

my submission for softies for mirabel.

I used a vintage pattern from a "pack o fun" magazine; those lil' zines are such an inspiration! Of course my lack of editing got in the way, and somehow this lion with a mane turned into the most precious lady; once I get going going I just can't stop.

I had a tough time planning out the eyes. I cut out at least 30 different little circles before flipping out and giving up for a few days. One day, I was fumbling around the internet and finally found the answer; DREAMPETS! We all know how much I love those things. I found an eye shape that I could easily adapt (and that wasn't circle) and that was that. The sequins came much later after a bout of stash diving for more felt.

The "mane" is made of vintage rug yarn someone had given me a few years ago. I used a waldorf doll technique that involved hand sewing tons of loops and anchoring them with satin stitches in between. It took forever!

All of the other materials were vintage and sourced on etsy with the exception of felt and fiberfill. The prints are all so perfect! I didn't even feel bad or guilty about using up those last precious scraps, because it just seemed like it was all meant to be together.

I can't wait to mail her off! Tomorrow night, I'm going to work on some pompoms for Pip's daughter's wedding and toss them all in a box with this lovely little lioness.

Have you finished anything recently? Leave a link in the comments! I wanna see!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

tuesday night knitting club; strickliesel edition.

Sometime last week, I saw a feature in a magazine (Vogue Knitting?) about knitting spools that led to an evening of insomnia. They were all so colorful and kitschy; why didn't I own one? After tossing and turning all night with a horrible bout of tool envy, I decided to go searching on the internet for these lil' guys.

There were quite a few vintage ones on Etsy, but they all seemed too precious (and expensive) to actually use. eBay is always my backup plan when I see something I love but think that it costs too much. After trying a handful of researched terms (knitting spool, knitting nancy and strickliesel), I finally found a ton in my price range.

Even if I had been hesitant to buy one for $10, after reading the seller's description there was no way I couldn't "buy it now"!


"When I was 6 yrs old my sister made a jumping rope for me on her Strick Liesel. Now that I am over 70 yrs young I made some Strick Liesels for children or grown- ups who like to do more than watch TV. The spool knitter is an ideal toy, and a lot of crafts can be made with the cords. F.E. potholders ,headbands, scarfs etc. One way to get rid of left over wool or yarns."


It just melts your heart, right? How could you NOT buy one?

I was afraid to start using it on my on and waited anxious to show my fairy craftmother, Lea, what I had found. Of course, she knew exactly what it was, how to thread it and how to fix the sloppy end I had started.

I'm not sure if it's much easier than knitting i-cord on two DPN's, but it is addictive and the result is very clean and uniform. I can't help but smile when I look down into my hand and see this little guy!

Have you experimented with any new tools?

Friday, January 20, 2012

FO: Jaywalker Socks.


I first casted these socks on in June of 2008. I frogged them once and forgot about them for a while. I tried again in April of last year and they were still far too small. The leg opening wouldn't stretch to fit my really weak ankles. I don't know if I was doing something wrong or if the pattern was just written on the small side. My gauge was on, but the sock was not.

After adding a second "V" to the chevron pattern and being coached to knit a little looser by Will, I finally ended up with one sock that fit. I tossed it in my knitting bag and left it there for a little while.

Eventually, I kicked the S-S-S (second sock syndrome) and forced myself to finish the second.

And there you have it, a fun pair of socks!

Project Particulars

Needles: Addi Turbo US Size 1 circulars (magic loop method)
Cost: Free! The yarn was a gift!
Time: We're not going to talk about it.
Notes: These ended being very small (3 times)! I finally decided to modify the pattern to add an extra "V" to the chevron.

Have YOU finished anything lately? Leave a link in the comments, I'd love to see!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guest Post: Aminah of The Thrifty Gypsies

Hey Kids!

School started this week, and I knew it was going to be a little hectic around these parts so I'v asked my friend Aminah to jump in and do a fun guest post for you! I'm so thankful to have such a great group of readers and pals that are willing to help out when things get crazy!

After spending the past three weeks in my own kitchen preparing meals for the 28-day challenge, I've noticed that it maybe time for to spruce up the place! Aminah has curated an amazing collection of vintage goodies for us to swoon over.



Hi KnitXcorE readers!

I’m Aminah from the Thrifty Gypsies! My business partner Jessi & and I run the Thrifty Gypsies together - where we sell great vintage kitchen items from our Etsy shop! So great that we actually love displaying a lot of the pieces in our own kitchens until they’re sold!

So of course it makes sense if this post is all about retro kitchens and how to get the look!

There’s so many small(ish), great items that you can get that will instantly transform your kitchen; these are just a few!



and how lucky are you that (almost) everything shown here is available on Etsy?

1. (Time for a little shameless store promotion!) Our love for vintage coffee carafes is a new one but its a great one - Carafes like this one look so great in any kitchen, people are definitely sure to talk about it!

2. I have a serious love affair with aluminum canisters. I’ve mixed and matched two sets for my own kitchen and I get the most compliments on those than anything else in my kitchen!

3. The colour! The chrome! The design and shape! Everything about this mixer screams retro. Practical and cute - that’s a great way to justify purchases to your significant other, I use it every weekend!

4. Could these look anymore retro?? These dessert bowls are just adorable, even if they were the only retro thing in your kitchen, they would still make it work!

5. Even if you don’t want to shop vintage, but want the retro look, there’s lots of great stores that do a fantastic job of making retro looking modern kitchen ware. Like these primary colour (Pyrex-y looking) mixing & store bowls from urban outfitters!

6. This set of spice shakers is so adorable! Again, instantly add a little retro spice to your kitchen with something as easy peasy as a set of retro spice shakers!

7. Love these! These are in one of my favourite shops on Etsy, and even if you aren’t going to use them for oil & vinegar, they’ll look great on a shelf or with other ingredients in them!

8. This cute yellow dining table is not only retro looking but it’ll instantly brighten up any kitchen!

9. EVERYONE needs a retro wall clock in their kitchen. My step dad is an avid collector and every time he comes over, he tries to steal my retro clock that hangs over our stove.

What’s your favourite piece of a retro kitchen?

Thank you so much to Robbie for having me and thanks to everyone for reading my post!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

wip wednesday.


Even after a marathon of Christmas crafting, I still have a pretty big pile of projects waiting to be wrapped up before I start my still top secret reallybigimportantproject. I figured that I would list them here, both so you could see them and I could get an idea of what I still have to finish. Sound good?

-Restore Vintage Stuffed Rabbit

Not too bad! There's an end in sight... sort of.

What are you working on?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vinyl Monday: Talking Heads.

Vinyl Monday


Such a long day!

I didn't even realize it was Monday until about twenty minutes ago.

Tomorrow is the first day of the Spring semester and I'm totally geeking out over "Intro to Ceramics". I can't wait to get my hands in that clay.

I'm gonna take the Instax with me to take pictures. I don't really want to lug around a giant DSLR all day. Don't worry, you'll get a full recap :-)

I'd better go to bed early, so I'll be bright-eyed and bushy tailed in the morning, huh?

Enjoy the Talking Heads, while I get some beauty sleep!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo Friday!

diana mini

These photos are all so great that I've been considering buying a Bamboo tablet! I saw one on Stela's blog and I can't stop thinking about how cool it is!!!!

Have you ever used one? Is it worth it?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Get Healthy!: Week 2 Wrap Up


This week, we really dropped the ball. The 28 day challenge began to hamper our already sad little social life, as it became insanely difficult to have lunch dates with friends or each other. On Friday, we threw caution to the wind and joined some friends for dinner at a burger joint and it just went downhill from there.

We ate a little fast food here and there, and I succumbed to the siren song of a super dark bar of chocolate. I was so upset, but also so satisfied.

I began to think about whether the cleanse was right for us. I almost threw in the towel. There were a few times where I bit my tongue about the wrong food decisions we were making.

Throughout the week, I started feeling really strong anxiety at meal time. Was the food I was eating okay? Would I just drop dead if I ate a croissant?

It really didn't seem worth it.

However, we discussed our weekend binge on Monday and evaluated the challenge while still considering our lifestyle. We came to the conclusion that AT HOME we would stick to our planned meals (from the magazine) but if we were out that we wouldn't be the obnoxious friend with tons of self-imposed dietary restrictions.

Luckily, this week's recipes were much more exciting and we've enjoyed eating them. The Lentil Soup and Baked Sweet Potatoes above were spot on! Really great!

It sounds like I'm just making excuses for our lapse of judgement and our lack of willpower, but honestly we just needed to approach this plan more realistically.

So far we've learned about making the right choices, how certain foods make us feel, and their functions in our diet. Who knew that apples make you poop or that parsley was an antioxidant treasure trove? Not me!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resolution #3: Dress Better!


So here's the thing: I don't feel like I necessarily dress badly, but in a lot of situations I still feel like it's not good enough. I mean, I regularly wear actual shoes and button down shirts or whatever but it's sort of become a "uniform" for me. I don't feel particularly special or creative in my current wardrobe. It's definitely not fun. There are days where I feel frumpy or out of touch, just because my shirt fits too big or my pants are too long.

I buy things on impulse, or things that are on sale (just because they're on sale); without thought really. I'm not good at waiting for the perfect thing. I end up settling for something because I want to have "something" right away; fully knowing that whatever I bought isn't perfect for me. The fit is weird, or the color is wrong and I just suck it up. I'll wear the awkward piece here and there to justify the purchase, but eventually it ends up in the part of the closet that I never look in (all the way up in the front).

I don't know where my sartorial discomfort stems from. I have good clothes. I have things people would love to own. Still, I toss on the same western button down and jeans day after day. I feel comfortable in these clothes but I also feel like I could be doing so much more.


I stopped doing "What I Wore" posts because after taking pictures of the new "outfits" I'd come up with, I thought who cares if I'm wearing jeans and a tee shirt. I don't, why should anyone else?

I look at blogger's like Colby and Raphael, and I feel like crap about my mundane wardrobe. Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing this to get pity. It's more just me being honest to myself (and to you) about why I feel so stressed about getting dressed. Hopefully, it will force me to evaluate my purchases more thoroughly and also inspire me to purge the things that I don't love.

It's going to be a tough resolution to follow through with, but sharing things on this blog always makes me feel more dedicated to the action. Your support means a lot!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

gettin' crafty: pom-pom flowers!


I guess it's only fair to share what sort of crafty exploits we were up to last night! Inspired by the super cool pompom flowers at Ivey Handcrafted, we decided it would be fun to make smaller ones on bendable pipe cleaners stems.

Honestly, ever since I bought these little pompom makers on Amazon, I've been looking for excuses to use them. I know. I know. It was reckless to spend money on a little piece of plastic. I can make pompom just fine with a piece of cardboard. It's a very "noob" looking device used to do a simple task.

Here's the thing: My homemade pompoms consistently look like crap. I end up trimming them down until there's almost nothing left. I'm wasting entire skeins of yarn to get one good pompom.

This isn't just another tool. It's a necessity. It produces a perfect pompom EVERY SINGLE TIME. There's no way I can ruin them.


After maikng a handful of perfect poms, I twisted some pipe cleaners up and jammed them into the center of each one. I didn't even glue them.



They fit perfectly into this little gnome vase a friend gave me for Christmas! Love it!

What's your favorite craft tool right now?